The massage therapist pushes and pulls at my leg and bends my knee. At my yelp of pain, he shakes his head. “This looks serious. What have you been doing with yourself?”
What I have been doing is exactly what I tell everyone (friends and clients alike) not to do: ignoring the signals in my body that I’m doing too much. I will now have to be very patient and very gentle with myself to get back to the point that walking (let alone dancing) doesn’t hurt.
I immediately feel anger and frustration. Why can’t I keep my own boundaries? I should know better! And, this, of course, is all about accepting things as they are. Not just accepting that I have injured my knee, but also accepting the fact that I’m capable of doing stupid things like this. And it’s ok that I am.
When we embark on the path towards becoming the person we want to be, one of the first things that happens to us is that we become dissatisfied with the person we are right now. It seems so logical, it’s about change, isn’t it? And this is where the strange and magical alchemy of change comes in. As long as you try to get rid of your bad habits and become a better person, you will find yourself either failing at it or solving one problem only to find new ones. Like the legendary Hydra: for every head that Hercules lopped off, two more heads would appear.
Saying to yourself: I can be a good person, if I can only learn to listen to the signals of my body and respect my boundaries, is not going to make you any happier or bring you peace of mind. Saying to yourself: I am a good person, even though I sometimes ignore the signals of my body and go over my boundaries, will. And you will find yourself listening to your body and respecting your boundaries more and more. Because you’re treating yourself with love and respect.
And so I try to be as patient with my shortcomings, those shadows of mine that pop up, as I am with my swollen knee. If I disappoint myself, I forgive myself. Again and again. With love and respect.